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She was told that "Chiropractors are men"

Dr. Nichole Nygren

Feb 3, 2023

A response that made me even more determined!

On National Women Physician Day I am reflecting back on my journey to becoming a physician. Did you know I was actually discouraged to become a Chiropractor?

Fresh out of high school, people would ask what I wanted to do for a living and I would excitedly say "I want to become a chiropractor!"   

After all, I grew up under chiropractic care and believed in taking care of yourself as naturally as possible. What was most inspiring though was watching my father help others. He helped so many get out of pain. Those without hope and thought they'd tried everything. He helped them start living life again. As I watched him work, I felt a calling and a passion to do this as well. 

Outside of my immediate family, I did not get the supportive responses from others that I thought I would. I was told "Aren't you too little to be a chiropractor?" "Chiropractors are men." 

That only made me more determined. Off I went to chiropractic school and in December 1998 I became one. In fact, after joining my father's practice, I became the 1st and only female chiropractor in Van Wert--for almost 25 years now!

I am proud of my accomplishements, but I know my journey was probably nothing compared to some. Did you know Women Physicians Day started because of one very brave lady back in 1849? Her name was Elizabeth Blackwell. I'm sure she was ridiculed during her journey and I can't imagine what all she went through back in the 1800's. ALl I know is that she must have had even more determination than me, which is why she was a pioneer of medical history and became the first woman to earn a physician degree.

Thanks to her, this is a day to celebrate the accomplishments of women physicians everywhere and honor the path they have paved and continue to pave for the next generation of aspiring female physicians.

I'd like to also honor a few special women that paved the female chiropractic physician path. In 1900 Minora Paxon was the first female chiropractor. Not only that, but she also co-authored the first chiropractic textbook, Modernized Chiropractic. Think about that! In 1900 she was using the term "modernized"!

Mabel Palmer of 1905 was another early female chiropractor. She was a professor of anatomy for over 20 years and authored the textbook called Chiropractic Anatomy. She became the president of the first ever women’s chiropractic organization—Sigma Phi Chi.

And finally Nell Williams, of 1956. Alongside her husband, Nell Williams owned and managed over 20 chiropractic clinics. Life University, to date the largest chiropractic college in the world, was founded by Nell and her husband. She won “Woman Chiropractor of the Year” in 1981 and wrote the first textbook on training and becoming a chiropractic assistant.

Go Female Chiropractic Physicians! 🎉

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